5 Albums That Defined 2015

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Featured Image by Amanda Silberling

Maybe it’s being a millennial. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic. But, in an age where there are endless apps to replace any real social contact, where online forums are for stirring public outrage rather than starting a conversation, I find myself feeling increasingly desensitized. Advertisers are sifting through our browser history, mining for information to add another data point for their latest marketing algorithm, inching closer and closer to deciphering the psychological makeup of a post-grad twenty-something. Everything that’s news is old news, everyone is someone else, nothing is permanent.

“Why the long face?” I hear Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) ask wryly.

Good point, Josh.

Despite the tone of ambivalence that’s become so prominent in popular music now, there’s still an unbridled sense of discovery and ambition to be found. In this new era of the music business, amidst the multitudes of sub-genres and middle of the road niche acts, an artist who manages to connect to a large, diverse audience should be celebrated as an extraordinary feat. We don’t need to find the next Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain for music to continue progressing and evolving. What we need are artists that are capable of using their music to challenge our indifference, to transcend international and cultural barriers without compromising on their fearlessness or artistic vision. As we pass the midpoint of this decade, it’s time we focus on what is being done now instead of waiting for the next thing. Sometimes progress happens in steps. Other times by leaps and bounds.

In that case, I have for you my top five albums that moved and shook me in 2015. Take a look below!

5. Currents by Tame Impala

tame-impala-currents

Album Art courtesy of the Artist

A year and a half after their success of their critically-acclaimed second album, Lonerism, Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker admitted that the idea of producing more music didn’t excite him. Six months later the band dropped a single and announced a brand new record. It certainly would have been easy for the Australian Psych-Rock band to stick to the same formula that had made their first two records so great. Instead, Kevin Parker chose to change gears, directing his meticulous perfectionism towards a synth and programmed drum based opus that is Currents. The beautiful textures and wide array of influences that make up the identity of the band’s third record disguise the bitterness that lies within its lyrics. Heartbreak is a common topic throughout Currents. “I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will too. Eventually…” Parker sings wistfully on one of the LP’s gorgeous singles “Eventually.” His futile attempt at defiance on “Cause I’m a Man” reads more as an admission of shame and emotional fatigue to no one in particular, adding to its already heartbreaking nature. Don’t think that Parker has any interest in moving back to the Tame Impala you’ve known, as he confesses “Maybe fake is what I like.”

4. Sometime I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett

Artwork via Milk!/Mom+Pop Records

Courtney Barnett’s humble, laid back attitude belies her extraordinary talent. The Australian slack rocker’s debut LP is matter-of-fact work of weary frustration that cautions the listener against trying to read too much into what she says since she doesn’t truly know what she wants. Behind the rush of her pseudo-rambling brand of singing and gritty guitar riffs, Barnett warns “put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,” admitting that she is “just a reflection of what you really want to see/So take what you want from me.” Though she may not be a virtuoso guitarist, possess a conventionally pretty voice, or even explore more than a few musical keys, Barnett is one of the most uniquely sensitive songwriters that has no shame in being who she is, but buried beneath that brash impish exterior lies an artist who’s able to convey her perception and experiences with complete ease. “Don’t stop listening/I’m not finished yet!” Don’t worry, Courtney. You have our complete and undivided attention.

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2 Comments

  1. Lauren S

    January 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with all of these! Although I do think Sufjan Stevens deserves an honorable mention for Carrie & Lowell.

  2. William Miller

    January 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

    It’s perfect.

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